Bring Down Mosquitos With a Bat House

It looks like a plain, brown box, but inside holds the most all-natural mosquito repellent available: bats. Find out how to make a bat house and how to conquer any fears about the mysterious mammal.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

Dreading the insects that come with warming temperatures? Bats can help banish bugs.

Their cape-like wings and pointy teeth aren’t exactly endearing qualities. So why are people inviting bats onto their property? Building them houses? Well, it turns out bats aren’t as bad as they seem. In fact, they do a lot of good.

 

Bat House Benefits

Richard Neal was checking out his granddaughter’s Ranger Rick magazine when he came across a story about bats eating mosquitoes. According to Jessica Kindall, sales manager at Wild Birds Unlimited, it’s estimated they eat their weight in the bugs every night. “They weigh a few grams,” Kindall says. “When you add up that many mosquitoes, it must be hundreds.” 

 

Banishing Bat Fears

The real bloodsuckers aren’t bats. They’re mosquitoes. In addition to causing incessant itching,
mosquitoes can transmit dangerous diseases. Some fear bats and rabies, but this isn’t common. “A very small percentage of a couple of different species have rabies,” Kindall says. There are hundreds of species in the Ozarks (all small bats). Some would rather risk mosquito bites than a bat flying into their hair. That’s also not likely. “They fly 10 to 20 feet in the air, only swooping down if there’s a reason,” Kindall says. “Your hair wouldn’t be a reason.”

 

Building a Bat House

Neal found building instructions for his bat house online. “I used to be a cabinet builder so I have the tools,” he says. “It took me an hour.” Bat houses need to be made of solid wood that can get wet. Cedar is a durable, insect-resistant choice. Helpful tips for building a successful house can be found at habitatforbats.org and batmanagement.com. The Springfield Conservation Nature Center also offers building plans, and Wild Birds Unlimited sells pre-made bat houses and telescoping poles. 

 

Bat House Installation

Install houses on a free-standing pole, at least 10 to 15 feet off the ground, to keep predators away. A telescoping pole offers easy access to monitor progress. It may take weeks or even years for bats to take up residence. “It’s like a bird house,” Kindall says. “You can’t really tell a bird to move in. They just have to find it.” If patience doesn’t provide results, try another area of the yard. Most houses start with fewer than 100 bats and grow over time. This means guano (feces) and urine, so install it at least 50 feet from the house, away from high-traffic areas. (Bat guano, by the way, is a wonderful fertilizer!) Like it or not, bats will be flying around this summer. Kindall says it’s “mind over matter.” Try to think of those cape-like wings as more “superhero” than vampire. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More Articles Like This

50 Things Every 417-Lander Must Do

When do you know you’ve become fully initiated into your home? You can start by trying all the foods that are unique to the area. You can check the best sites off your bucket list. You can immerse yourself in the outdoors. And, let’s be honest, that can take years! This feature is your shortcut—a list of 50 things that every 417-lander should know, do or eat to be really and truly local.

Beneath the Surface: Controversy on the Buffalo National River

Since C&H Hog Farms opened its 2,500-sow operation in the Buffalo National River watershed in 2013, concerns involving the river’s safety and quality have been on the rise. We headed south to investigate the farm’s practices, learn about the potential threats to the watershed and examine the heart-felt passion of the many people involved.

Plan a Trip to the Emerald Isle or Hear Irish Tunes Locally

417 Magazine owner Joan Whitaker's maiden name is Sullivan so it’s only fitting that visiting Ireland was high on her bucket list. Here are her tips for planning a trip to the Emerald Isle and for enjoying Irish music locally if a trip isn’t for you.
Edit Module
Edit Module
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Sign up for our newsletters Follow us on Instagram

Edit ModuleShow Tags

  1. Why Pickleball is the New “It” Sport
    The number of places to play pickleball has doubled since 2010. Digital Director Dayle Duggins...
  2. Fall Festivals: 25 Way to Celebrate Fall Fun in 417-land
    We’ve rounded up the most delightful, most bizarre and most timeless fests around to add to...
  3. Republic’s Scuffed Edge Flea Market
    At Scuffed Edge in Republic, one creative maven shares her passion for refurbishing home decor.
  4. Goat Yoga is Your New Favorite Workout
    Our managing editor got bendy with some goats, and somehow among their bleats and bucks, her...
  5. Inside Innovative Dental’s Spa-Like Space
    Innovative Dental’s remodeled office in Southeast Springfield goes beyond the usual sterile...
Edit Module
Edit Module